Sales: $170 Million
Description: Key Personnel
Joe Menendez, Vita Group CEO
Wim Warnier, Vita Nonwovens CEO
Belgium, France, Sweden, U.S.
ISO 9001:2000; ISO / TS 16949
Drylaid, chemical bonded, drylaid thermal bonded, needlefelt, through air bonded, impregnation
Sales decreased from $190 million to $170 million in 2008 for Vita Nonwovens, Manchester, U.K., largely due to the impact of the economic downtown in the second quarter 2008. Despite these troubles, the company continues to report growth in the healthcare and filtration divisions in Europe and the bedding and furniture markets in the U.S.
This growth is expected to continue thanks to the completion of a new line—geared toward technical markets—which was recently installed in the U.S. Vita Nonwovens continues to operates three North American sites in Fort Wayne IN, San Antonio, TX and High Point, NC, which are reportedly fully utilized. “Vita Nonwovens North America is responding to the downturn in the economy by instituting a strategy for nonwovens that includes being sensitive to market changes and responsive to customers’ needs,” said a company spokesman..
Despite dismal market conditions in the U.S. last year, the company reported growth in this market, investment in its employees and plants are still the focus for retaining its preeminent position.
Meanwhile, the company’s European sites, operated through its Libeltex subsidiary in France and Belgium, are serving novelty healthcare applications while continuing to work on innovative product development solutions in hygiene, filtration and furniture and bedding.
Vita Nonwovens closed its U.K. plants a few years ago to narrow its focus on North American and Western and Eastern Europe. Speaking of Eastern Europe, executives reported less reduction in demand in this emerging markets than in Western Europe and the U.S., which were affected by de-stocking, particularly in automotive, construction and furniture and bedding. “The biggest impact has been in the automotive sector where low demand for new cars has been exacerbated by the car manufacturers’ high stock levels,” said the spokesman. As a division, our exposure to this market is limited and therefore has not had a dramatic impact on our business.”
Still, Vita has had to institute a number of cost-cutting measures throughout its business. During the fourth quarter, these initiatives impacted its employment as reductions were made in temporary jobs or through voluntary redundancy.
Moving forward, the company plans to concentrate its activities in core regions in North America and Europe. Future plans in 2009 through 2010 call for entrance into new product and market segments. “We continue to believe that nonwovens haven’t reached their full market potential yet. Changing attitudes with regard to environment, health and well-being are creating inroads into new market segments.”
The focus for future growth will continue to come from the company’s core product groups in hygiene, automotive, filtration and other technical industrial applications.
“Our research and development teams are closely linked to our commercial team to ensure that development applications bring increased value to our customers.”